Stay Safe and Prevent These Winter Dangers
During the colder months, some of the household appliances and equipment you use every day could truly be accidents waiting to happen. HVAC equipment is often the culprit, causing house fires or other dangers for unsuspecting homeowners. Fortunately, there are some simple precautions you can take to keep both your family and your home safe this winter.
- Danger: Dryer Fire
Something as harmless as dryer lint can cause major problems. Your dryer’s venting can get clogged with lint which in turn can cause heat to buildup in the vent and possibly a dryer fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 15,000 structure fires costing over $100 million in losses occur each year.
Safety Tip: Clean the Venting
This is a simple fix. Just use special cleaning brush to clean the venting from your dryer to the outside at least twice a year. A good warning sign that it’s time to clean your venting is if it takes longer than usual to dry your clothes. RepairClinic.com also recommends using a Dryer Airflow Checker to monitor lint buildup and blockage in your venting. It alerts you when it’s time to clean it out.
- Danger: Snowblower Accident
Since 2003, over 9,000 Americans have lost a finger or two in a snowblower-related injury. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Well, it turns out these people like to use their hands to unclog a snowblower jam – without turning off the machine.
Safety Tip: Other Ways to Clean a Jam
Don’t be a Consumer Product Safety Commission statistic. Either use a small shovel or the end of a broom – after you’ve turned off the snowblower – to unclog a snow or ice jam. One way to help avoid snowblower jams altogether is to use a non-stick spray on areas that come into contact with snow. You may also want to consider using safety glasses when snowblowing to prevent any eye injuries from flying ice or debris.
- Danger: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide causes hundreds of deaths and thousands of illnesses each year. Oftentimes it comes from issues with furnaces, generators or other fossil-fueled appliances where the colorless and odorless gas can build up in a semi-enclosed space.
Safety Tip: There’s an affordable and easy way to prevent this buildup – a carbon monoxide detector, which can detect the gas and alert you of dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Be sure to place a couple within your home by the bedrooms and family rooms. Avoid putting one in the kitchen, home cooking appliances may emit small amounts of the gas and falsely set off the alarm. You’ll want to check the carbon monoxide detectors when Daylight Savings begins and ends to make sure they’re working.
- Danger: Space Heater Fires
Two out of every five home heating fires are causes by space heaters (National Fire Protection Association). While they do a great job of warming up a smaller space quickly, they’re also prone to tipping over and causing fires.
Safety Tip: If you must use a space heater, keep it at least three feet away from walls, furniture or anything else flammable.
While these dangers aren’t the only ones to be wary of, we recommend maintaining your home’s appliance/equipment as often as the user manuals recommend. And be sure to always wear the proper safety equipment when doing any repairs around the house.
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